BioSense Institute Novi Sad has won the prestigious 2018 Inspire Challenge in Kenya with its innovative solution for fighting the problem of hunger in Africa, the Institute announced.
The jury included representatives of the Bill Gates Foundation and the USAID, as well as the biggest experts in the field of agriculture. The aim of this contest, organized by CGIAR, a global network of research centers, is to develop innovative ICT technologies which would upgrade African agriculture and finally solve the problem of the lack of food.
Of the 130 teams, 12 qualified for the final, and only 5 won funds for the development of their ideas over the next year. The idea of researchers from BioSense, Oskar Marko, Sanja Brdar and Gordan Mimic, aroused a lot of interest, as it enables an increase in yields through a smart choice of seeds, without any additional investments in fertilizers, pesticides or mechanization.
– Today, there are thousands of varieties and hybrids, but it is very hard to choose the optimal ones for the given climate conditions and the soil. This can only be done with modern techniques of machine learning and big data analysis, where BioSense is among the leading institutes in the world – Oskar Marko stated and added that the solution had great potential in Africa, whereas investments in agricultural production are limited and the need for food great.
For this purpose, BioSense has made strategic partnership with the biggest world institute for the upgrade of maize and wheat varieties, Mexico’s CIMMYT, and the amount of USD 100,000, which the Novi Sad institute will use over the next year in order to develop a prototype, has been provided by donors, the most prominent of which is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The awarded teams will be able to acquire additional funds of up to USD 250,000 next year and to implement their solutions throughout Africa.